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Managing Director, CEO

Paul Thornton

Paul Thornton joins Tempest from Tag Presents, a leading festival and large-scale event and sports operator, where he also serves as CEO. Over his  25+ years in live entertainment and sports, Thornton has been a leader of innovation at creating world class opportunities for talent and the communities they serve. He began by founding Bravo Entertainment that grew into one of  the largest independent promoters of concerts, festivals, and sports events in the United States, selling millions of tickets, and producing over 700 events annually.  In 2007 Bravo was acquired, along with Thornton's chain of Big Easy Clubs in the Northwest.  The non-compete allowed Thornton to continue in music when embedded into sports and festivals.  This led to a run in Austin, Texas where for a decade Thornton helped shape the entertainment landscape, creating the Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of The Americas, Jeff Foxworthy's RedFest, ESPN X-Games, Formula 1 USGP, MotoGP, Austin Fan Fest, and a steady stream of concerts at multiple venues around the city.  In 2019 Thornton staged the first Wonderfront Festival in the marina district of San Diego eclipsing an impressive 56,000 tickets.  In 2021 he launched concert and festival operations at The Outpost in San Juan Capistrano, CA and further developed The MissionFest.  Thornton has won multiple industry and business awards, and sits on several music industry and company boards.  Thornton graduated from Cal State Fullerton with an accounting degree, and was a D1 collegiate baseball player.  Thornton now splits time between offices in Boise, San Juan Capistrano and San Diego.

Track Record Highlights

  • Circuit of The Americas – President of Live Events

  • Formula 1 US Grand Prix – Executive Producer of Entertainment

  • MotoGP US Grand Prix – Executive Producer of Entertainment

  • ESPN X Games Austin – Executive Producer & Partner

  • Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival – Executive Producer, Founder & Managing Partner

  • Austin Fan Fest – Executive Producer

  • Jeff Foxworthy’s REDFEST – Executive Producer & Partner

  • Austin360 Amphitheater – President

  • Big Easy Concert House Venues – CEO & Founder

  • Honda Ski Tour – Executive Producer, Co-Founder

  • Jeep 48Straight – Executive Producer, Co-Founder

  • Republic of Texas Biker Rally – Executive Producer of Entertainment

  • Adult Swim Festival – Music Producer

  • Mission Fest – Executive Producer & Partner

  • Dew Tour – Strategy Consultant led the winning RFP Proposal

  • Austin Bold FC (USL Pro Soccer) – Co-Founder, Partner

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Managing Director, Partnerships & Business Development

Cord Pereira

Cord Pereira joins Tempest from Noun Ventures, a brand engineering and strategy firm, where he remains an advisor.  Pereira has extensive experience in startups and joint ventures stemming from his long career as President of Diamond Sports and Entertainment, where he oversaw a portfolio of companies including professional sports franchises, arenas/stadiums, concerts/events, concessions, corporate events, and original media production. Pereira co-founded Marketing Media Group, an advertising agency that also handled marketing for the Diamond Sports properties. In the early 2000's, Pereira served as President of SISCOM, a sports technology company with advanced digital video/data analytics solutions used by leading media and sports teams including ESPN, NBA, NHL, IMG., New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and dozens more.  Pereira was co-creator and executive producer of “The Great Skate Debate”, credited as the first-ever televised home-audience judged (over the internet) sports competition (figure skating), airing prime time nationally on CBS from 1996-1998.  Pereira graduated from University of California Santa Barbara, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Sports Management. He played both Baseball and Lacrosse at UCSB.  Pereira is lead guitarist of the Doublewide Kings and lives in Santa Barbara.

Sports, Venues & Properties Track Record


Managing Director,  Licensing Programs

Mick Mankowski

Mick Mankowski works closely with Tempest partners in identifying and developing licensing and non-traditional revenue strategies and opportunities for our talent and brand partners.  Over the past 10 years, Mankowski secured licensing deals for various companies and brands in the entertainment, footwear, apparel and consumer products categories generating over $1.8 billion in licensed product sales. Among the many companies and brands that Mankowski has worked with include:, Fila, Elle, Carlos by Carlos Santana, Body Glove, Gotcha, And1, Ryka, Nevados, Instinct, Haggar, Asics and U.S. Marine Corps. Mankowski has developed licensing strategies in 32 countries and just within the past three years, helped sell 12 companies. He was formerly President of the Licensing, Mergers & Acquisitions Division of the accounting firm Stonefield Josephson. Mankowski was owner of MEI, an apparel holding company which owned the Crossport, Barely Legal, and Kristina Rachel brands.  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he earned his BA in Business Management and Finance.


Director of Operations

Esther Shepherd-Velarde

Esther Shepherd-Velarde has an impressive depth of experience working in the live entertainment and merchandising industries for more than two decades.  Prior to joining Tempest, Esther was part of the founding team at San Francisco-based BrandFuse, a successful promotional product company that provides creative merchandising programs for highly visible brands, where she oversaw client operations and compounding year-over-year growth since 2010.  In 2007, Esther helped launch TAG Presents where she established relationships while routinely securing talent for venues and events that have included: The Honda Ski Tour, Jeep King of the Mountain, Jeep 48Straight Festival, Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin Fan Fest, RedFest with Jeff Foxworthy, ESPN X-Games Austin, Republic of Texas Biker Rally, Belmont Theater, The Outpost, and more. Prior to TAG Esther worked in multiple roles at Bravo Entertainment, starting out as a runner/production asst as a teenager and moving up over the years to work senior roles in the marketing and talent buying departments.  Esther holds a B.A. from Boise State University in Multidisciplinary Studies & Applied Leadership.